Happy 2nd Birthday to my beautiful niece!
My oldest niece is one of my favorite people ever. I know I sound like a typical bragging aunt, but seriously, she is hilarious and so much fun to be around. She comes out with the funniest one-liners, she tells the best stories, she loves to sing and dance (both to Bruce Springsteen AND to Britney Spears… following right in her aunt’s footsteps), AND she loves to help her mommy bake! And decorate cookies with her Aunt Didi (that’s me).
At Christmas time, we made Gingerbread Houses together. At first, I helped her with the royal icing-- she told me where to pipe it, and she placed the different candies onto the icing. But by the end of the afternoon, she was piping right from the piping bag! Such a natural.
Then, when it got closer to Christmas, I brought some cookie-decorating supplies over to my brother's house for more holiday cookie fun. I brought some ornament shaped cookies & gingerbread men, royal icing (white and her favorite color, blue, already bagged and ready to go), and an assortment of sprinkles. She had a blast piping the icing onto the cookies, choosing which sprinkles to use, and then shaking them onto the cookies. She really had clear ideas about which ones she wanted to use on each cookie! I was so impressed.
Naturally, I wanted her birthday cookies to be extra special, and of course BLUE!
For Christmas this year, I got an insanely cool Make-Your-Own Cookie Cutter Kit. My sister (who also happens to be my roommate) drew my name in our family’s Secret Santa. Being that she sees me baking and cookie decorating in our kitchen (and dining room, and sometimes in living room) all the time, she knew exactly what baking gadgets to get! She has definitely seen me painstakingly hand-cut sugar cookies enough times to know that I would love this kit.
This kit is from KitchenKrafts.com. It comes with a long strip of metal, strong two-sided adhesive tape, and a board with two attachments, a round peg and an oblong peg with a sharp corner and a slightly rounded corner. All you need are kitchen sheers to cut the metal, yarn to trace the length of your design, and your cookie cutter design!
I decided to make a large number 2 and letter R, for my niece’s 2nd birthday, as my first custom made cookie cutters. I have a set of letter and number cutters, from one of those 101 cookie cutters buckets. But they are small (less than two inches square) and plastic (plastic cutters can’t be molded and shape-shifted like metal ones can!). And I just don’t love the shape of all of the letters.
So I sketched out a playful block-lettered 2 and R. Then I cut a long piece of yarn, and laid the yarn along the perimeter of the sketched shapes, to get a measurement of how long the metal piece should be. An inch should be added to the final measurement so the metal can overlap & seal with the adhesive tape. Then once the metal was cut, I used the peg attachments on the board to mold it into shape, closely following my sketch. It took some tinkering, and some trial and error. One thing I learned quickly was to wait to make the corners really sharp until I was absolutely sure I had the shape I wanted. The metal was pretty easy to reshape as needed, but the sharp corner was pretty final and not so easy to undo.
I think I came pretty close to my sketches!
I can’t wait to try more shapes! Best part? They also sell refills of the metal strips!
Two other techniques I tried playing around with this in birthday set were layering & cut-outs. I thought they complemented each other nicely on the same large square cutters! For these I used the aforementioned small plastic number 2 and letter R from the big bucket.
For the double layer, the base cookie (large square) and the top layer were both rolled, cut, and baked separately. Once cooled, I outlined & filled the base with white royal icing. Then I immediately & carefully placed the letter or number on top of the royal icing. After it dried, I added more decorative details!
The cut-outs are pretty self-explanatory. I rolled & cut out the square, and then, before baking, I used the small plastic cookie cutters to cut out a 2 and an R from the center of the square. Come to think of it, I used the middles of these as the tops of the layered cookies!
So easy, pretty, and fun to eat!
More square birthday designs. I made sure to make some mini squares for the birthday girl, so she didn’t completely go into sugar shock!
Birthday cake cookies, cupcake cookies, and presents!!
We had a beautiful birthday celebration. My family is beyond fortunate to have this amazing child in our lives!
Happy Birthday Sweetheart! Your Aunt Didi loves you more than words can say!